Queen Latifah's Flavor Unit Management now has two royal ladies on its roster. Latifah herself, of course, and the Queen Bee, Lil' Kim. Kim told MTV on Wednesday night that she now has the Flavor Unit as well as Lance "Un" Rivera on her management team.
"We never stopped speaking to each other," Kim said of realigning with Un. As you might know, Kim originally signed to Undeas Records, which was the company formed by Rivera and Notorious B.I.G. in the '90s. Kim and Un stopped working together years later after a falling-out.
"We were family," Kim said of the man she still affectionately calls "Uncle Paulie." "It's like you get into an argument with your uncle and you gotta go left to come right sometimes."
On Wednesday night at New York's Battery Studios, Un was among many who were applauding Kim's return to her roots: hardcore music. Both Track Masters, Poke and Tone; Mister Cee, Big Daddy Kane's former DJ and the man credited with discovering Biggie; Brooklyn's Maino; and some new talent Kim is helping to cultivate were laughing, eating Mr. Chow's takeout and loving the tracks Kim was previewing from her new mixtape, Ms. G.O.A.T. That's right, as in the "Greatest of All Time."
"I always wanted to do a mixtape," Kim said in the vocal booth, where she was working on a remake of the Lady of Rage's "Afro Puffs." "I used to see how 50 used to do it so hard. And I was a big fan of 50 when he first started putting out his mixtapes, and I'm still a fan. I seen his growth. But it all started with the mixtape. He caught my ear. It was a great movement. I said 'Damn, it's not a lot of girls doing
it ... .'
"But I did this for my fans," she added. "It's been a year and a half since I been home from jail; I felt I owed them something. Although Kimberly Jones was getting her business straight and Kimberly Jones was getting herself straight, my music was my love."
Other tracks from the mixtape include a remix of Britney Spears' "Gimme More" titled "Kimme More." "It's Lil' Kim, ho," the so-called Black Erica Kane says on the record's intro, mirroring Spears' "It's Britney, bitch" line. There's also a brand-new track called "Chillin' Tonight," and a freestyle over 50 Cent's "I Get Money" in which Kim disses Remy Ma.
"It was 'enough is enough,' " she said of the rhymes aimed at Remy. Kim says she was tired of Fat Joe's former protégé dissing her in interviews and talking slick on records.
"Every female in the game, they're painting their own picture," Kim added. "I do what I do, they do what they do. May the best woman win. It's only one G.O.A.T."
Kim has hopes of releasing an official LP as early as February, but it won't be on Atlantic Records. She's very close to gaining her long-talked-about release from the label.
"We're in the middle of wrapping up the last bit of paperwork, and yeah, I'll be in charge of my own masters, my own career," she explained. "This is something I wanted to do for a long time.
"I had a great run there," the Brooklyn sex symbol added. "We had a great history. But I came to a point where I felt it was time for me to do the independent thing and move on and take control of my own career. Thanks to Atlantic. They're letting me fly."
Kim's new album still doesn't have a title, but she guaranteed "a lot of surprises." Mister Cee and DJ Whoo Kid are helping Kim put together her mixtape, which should be out within the next couple of weeks.
Look for much more on Kim, her reconciliation with 50 Cent, quarrels with Remy Ma and her Ms. G.O.A.T. mixtape in next week's Mixtape Monday.